After the BBC broadcasted a two-part docu-series called “India: The Modi Question” on BBC Two, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on January 19 said that the series is “a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative.” According, the news agency, the MEA said: “If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it. Frankly, we don’t wish to dignify such efforts.”
In a detailed resolution published on January 19, the Supreme Court Collegium reiterated the recommendation of openly gay lawyer Saurabh Kirpal for appointment as Delhi High Court judge. The Collegium said the government has objected to Mr. Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a Swiss national, they have an “intimate relationship” and he is “open about his sexual orientation”. The government, the Collegium said, is also worried that same-sex marriage is not recognized in India and Mr. Kirpal has a “passionate attachment to the cause of gay rights”.
Dismissing reports of differences with the judiciary on the process of appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and in High Courts, Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju on January 19 said the Collegium system will prevail, in the absence of alternative mechanisms and legislations enacted by the Parliament. Speaking to a gathering after laying the foundation stone for a lawyers’ chamber at the Integrated Court Complex in Puducherry on Thursday, the Minister said some people had “jumped the gun,” in making adverse comments and raised questions on the intention of the government after he wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on having a very “structured” Collegium system as “guided by the observations and directions of the Constitution Bench.”
Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal was allegedly dragged by a car in the early hours of January 19 near AIIMS Hospital in South Delhi, police said. According to the police, a person, driving a Maruti Suzuki Baleno, approached her when she was standing near the hospital and asked her to sit in his car. When Ms. Maliwal tried to reprimand the man, he pulled his window glass up, resulting in Ms. Maliwal’s hand getting stuck in the window, South district DCP Chandan Chowdhary said, adding that Ms. Maliwal was then dragged for about 10-15 metres.
The Center for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) on January 19 flagged what they said was “generalised surveillance” of Indian citizens by the Government, in an ongoing case before the Delhi High Court. Advocate Prashant Bhushan argued on behalf of the non-profits that in a “press release”, the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) said that the “government has ordered us to provide all the traffic which goes through the internet to their [Centralised] Monitoring System (CMS).“
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 19 asserted that the BJP Government’s priority is only development, as he targeted the other party government’s which ruled Karnataka, and their “vote bank” politics for the backwardness of certain regions of the State. Referring to the positive aspect of having a BJP Government at both State and Centre, he said, double engine government means double benefit, double welfare and double fast paced development, and Karnataka is the best example for this.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the BJP and RSS on January 19, accusing them of creating an atmosphere of hatred, violence and fear in the country. Addressing a rally here on the last day of Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Punjab-leg, he alleged that the BJP was making one religion fight against another, one caste against another and one language against another. “They create fear. All of their plans (policies) cause fear to someone or something,” he said.
The Congress on January 19 termed as “surreptitious assault on free speech” the new amendment in the draft IT Rules asking social media companies to take down news articles that have been deemed “fake” by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), and demanded its withdrawal. The Opposition party also said the rules be discussed threadbare in the forthcoming Parliament session.
The Chamoli district administration on January 19 issued orders to demolish yet another unsafe building in subsidence-hit Joshimath and invited suggestions from affected people on their rehabilitation. The unsafe house to be scientifically dismantled is located in ward number seven of the Joshimath municipal area. Experts had declared it unsafe after a recent survey. The order to dismantle it was issued by District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana after taking a written consent from house owner Dinesh Lal, the official said.
The Delhi High Court on January 19 granted interim bail to expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar, serving a 10-year jail sentence for the death of the Unnao rape victim’s father in custody, to attend his daughter’s wedding. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma suspended the sentence from January 27 to February 10 and said a division bench of the high court has already granted interim relief to Sengar, and sufficient conditions have been imposed on him.
The pilots of the Yeti Airlines aircraft that crashed in Nepal’s resort city of Pokhara may have failed to fully deploy the wing flaps while attempting to land, leading to a stall, a media report said on January 19. On January 15, a Yeti Airlines aircraft crashed into a gorge near the newly-built airport in Pokhara, killing 72 all on board, including five Indians, in the country’s worst air disaster in 30 years. An aircraft coming to land has the flaps at the back of the wings fully down to provide more control at low speed and prevent stalling, the Kathmandu Post reported.
The United States wants to see Pakistan in an economically sustainable position, an official spokesperson said, amid reports that the South Asian country’s foreign exchange reserves are fast running out. According to reports, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserve dropped to $4.3 billion last week, which is said to be enough for three weeks of imports. The forex reserves have dwindled despite efforts by the government to shore up its economy.
Ukraine urged its Western allies on January 19 to hurry up and supply tanks and air defences to Kyiv, saying it was paying with Ukrainian lives at the front for the slow pace of discussions in foreign capitals. “We have no time, the world does not have this time,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Western allies meet at the Ramstein Air Base Germany on Friday with the focus on whether Berlin will allow its Leopard 2 battle tanks to be supplied to Kyiv to help drive out Russian forces. “The question of tanks for Ukraine must be closed as soon as possible. Just like the questions of additional air defence systems,” Yermak said in a statement.
The Supreme Court on January 19 refused to interfere with an interim order of NCLAT directing the technology giant to deposit 10% of ₹1,337.76 crore penalty imposed on it by Competition Commission of India for alleged anti-competitive practices. The top court sent Google’s plea back to the Tribunal and asked it to decide the case by March 31 and asked Google to approach NCLAT within three working days for a decision on the plea and granted the tech-giant seven days to deposit 10% of the fine imposed by the regulator.
Wrestlers who are continuing to sit on a silent protest at Jantar Mantar for the second day on January 19 against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said they will lodge an FIR against the Federation chief on Friday if the Federation is not disbanded. They said that they were only getting “assurances” from the government over their protests but their was “no satisfactory response.” Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia asserted that they will continue to protest until their demands are met. “Sit-in protest will continue till we get justice,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.